Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Freedom Of Choice

So this morning I'm working, listening to the inauguration on the radio, and my boss' voice appeared on the intercom. "If anyone wants to see the inauguration, please come into the main conference room." I thought, that's pretty cool of him. Then a few minutes later there was a followup announcement. "If you're watching the inauguration on the Internet, please come to the conference room instead. We need the bandwidth."

I think this is still cool. It's something to celebrate about America: the idea that we can participate in Democracy but we don't have to. You know, Saddam Hussein was elected to his office several times, and each time it was with almost 100% participation and unanimous victories. In some other countries, conceivably my boss would have been required to marshall us all into the conference room, and perhaps pass out horns and flags. This system is better.

Also heartening is the incredible traffic jam of humanity in the national mall right now. Allowing that many people to show up for an event is an massive inconvenience, but DC is knuckling down and dealing with it because allowing people to participate if they want to is important too.

Perhaps the best thing about these United States is this: we can disagree about the flaws, the shortcomings, about how to fix them, about who will do the best job. And even if we disagree with the leaders of our nation, we won't be arrested for it. You can still be arrested for side issues, like throwing a SHOE at the president, but even then it's not like they'll beat you in prison and force you to sign a statement disavowing your actions. We don't do that here.

So good times. Best of luck to the new guy.


wamk said...

Had McCain won the election, and was being inaugurated today, do you think your boss would have done the same thing?

Danielk said...

Now that's an interesting hypothetical. I think not, but here's why - there wouldn't be the network stress from a McCain inauguration. No one would be that excited to see an old white man take the oath of office. Even if most of today's traffic was simply an assasination watch, you couldn't assume people would care with McCain. Hell, YOU hated McCain.

However, if both candidates had commanded this kind of interest, I'm sure the boss would have presented the inauguration in the conference room as an alternative to crashing the network.

Incidentally, I can't say how many people took him up on it - as I said, I'm relying on good old-fashioned radio for my news.

wamk said...

But wouldn't the election of Sarah Palin as the first female VP be just as historic?

wamk said...

"Even if most of today's traffic was simply an assasination watch, .."

What the hell is wrong with you?

Danielk said...

Dude, what's your point?

I'm guessing that you're trying to prove my boss has a liberal bias. He is a business owner (unlike certain plumbers I could name, who claimed they were considering starting a business) so he's as likely to be Republican as Democrat. There are plenty of Republicans out here. Two 'Pub presidents came from here in recent memory.

If it's not the boss thing, you're probably lamenting the lack of sizzle that the PALIN/mccain ticket generated. Well, sorry about that. Your beef is with the American people. You probably feel unfairly victimized by the whole Obama win thing.

It it were different and we were swearing in President Palin, I'll admit that it would have been a more historic ceremony than the inauguration of the last couple of Bushes or that Clinton fellah. I'm not sure it would be this much of a groundswell though. Could be wrong, we'll never know.

I'm trying to read your mind here - what's eatin' ya, buddy?

Danielk said...

Re: Assasination watch - I'm pretty cynical, aren't I? Still, if he didn't want people to think about it, he shoulda stopped bringing up Lincoln.

wamk said...

I guess you are right. That whole pick of Palin as VP did nothing for McCain, did it?

It's not like she generated crowds that rivaled Obama's while on the stump.

Not a thing is eating me.

Danielk said...

I get it now... you're jealous! Well, take heart. Four years from now, the nation may want to be led by someone with extreme right-wing views. Maybe she can talk Bolton into being VP!

Really, I'm sorry our President beat your Vice President. Try to cheer up, bucko.

Publius said...

I went to bed long before the show began and got up long after it was over. I spent my time well.

But, I did watch the last 10 seconds of the swearing in to see Chief Justice John Roberts kick Obama in the groin with that "So help you God?" jibe. It was hilarious.